Is ‘Speedgolf’ the solution to slow play?

Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim February 17, 2011 11:52

An increasing number of golf clubs are trialling a new form of golf called ‘Speedgolf’ that wipes out slow play – one of the most cited barriers to people taking up the sport.

Speedgolf involves a normal round of golf in which the score is calculated both by a mixture of the fewest number of strokes and the time it took the participant to play the course.

Competitors can use a maximum of seven golf clubs and players are allowed to keep the flag in the hole when putting, plus drop lost balls come with a one-shot penalty, but all other golf rules and local club etiquette applies.

Rounds or nine or 18 holes involve competitors moving swiftly between each shot.

Beauchief Golf Course in Sheffield is one of several that have piloted a version of the concept (in its specific case, golfers were not allowed to run), and has found that an 18-hole round can be played in less than two hours, contrary to more than four hours that some rounds are played.

Beauchief tested the concept with a game for 10 employees and business partners won by its own manager, Andy Carnall, who completed the three mile, par 67 course in 67 minutes.

Steve Brailey, chief executive of Sheffield City Trust, said: “One of the biggest barriers to playing golf is time. On average, an 18-hole course can take around three and half hours to get round.

“The beauty of Speedgolf is it can be played before breakfast and you can be at your desk for 9am. There’s the added benefit of it being a complete workout as well as a game of golf. By fast walking around the course you can burn an average of 1,600 calories so it’s ideal for improving your health and fitness. There’s no need to go the gym after work.”

All players wore physical activity belts which measured the effort, calories and heart rate when the players were tackling the course.

Steve added: “We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to engage local people in physical activity and we believe this is a UK-first. The feedback we had from the pilot was fantastic and we think Speedgolf could really take off.”

Chartham Park Golf Club in West Sussex also trialled the concept recently, in which competitors were allowed to run, and the inaugural British Speedgolf championships were held at the Boars Head Golf Centre in East Sussex last autumn.


Rosemary Ayim
By Rosemary Ayim February 17, 2011 11:52
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  1. Sam February 22, 17:51

    Ready Golf is another alternative – it’s very simple, if your ready play. If the whole field adopts this method clubs can reduce rounds by well over an hour and a half.

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  2. pensioner pete February 19, 16:23

    Do we really want lots of Wallys running round the course? Clubs will be hosting speed dating events next. The old joke about ‘would you like to play around with me’ is as relevant today as it ever was:-)

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